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The Maryland Press, 1777-1790 by Joseph Towne Wheeler.
Volume 438, Page 4   View pdf image (33K)
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A History of the Maryland Press, 1777-7790

the Post Office. He chose the latter, but after a year's service6 decided
to enter a more important field and requested Congress to give him a
commission as a Lieutenant Colonel in the army. General Washington
wrote that the induction of Goddard "into the Army as Lieut. Col.
would be attended with endless confusion" because of the difficulty of
adjusting the relative rank of the other officers without arousing


After ending his association with the Post Office, he returned to Balti-
more and helped his sister with the printing of the Maryland Journal
and Baltimore Advertiser. Financial troubles resulting from the expenses
of founding the postal system may have contributed to his obscurity
from the time of his retirement from the position of Surveyor of the
Post Office until 1784, when he again took over the paper. During these
years he came forth from this obscurity on two notable occasions, both
arising from his militant support of the liberty of the press.

On February 25, 1777, he published two short contributions in the
Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser which brought down upon
himself the wrath of the citizens of Baltimore, particularly the Whig
Club, an organization, self constituted, for the protection of the citizens
from Tory influences. That what was obviously intended to be irony
should be taken as disloyalty shows the patriotic fervor under which the
people were laboring at that time. The first of the articles was signed
"Tom Tell Truth" and advised the acceptance of the terms of peace which
the British Government had recently offered. The other article, signed
"Caveto," warned the colonists to distrust the British offers and to
fight with renewed zeal. The Whig Club ignored the second article and
sent a delegation to Mr. Goddard to discover the author of the offen-
sive piece signed "Tom-Tell Truth." After refusing to reveal the identity
of the author and to obey a summons to attend a meeting of the Club,
he was forcibly brought before it and ordered to leave town in twenty-
four hours and the country in three days. Instead of complying with
this arbitrary order, he went to Annapolis on March 7, 1777, and sub-
mitted a memorial to the Council of Safety.

Three days later the Whig Club was condemned as being "a manifest

6 The position of Surveyor to the Post Office seems to have been that of a general manager of the routes, stations and
personnel. Goddard's service in this office was not entirely satisfactory. Bache wrote that "whilst in office he did business
in a very careless and slovenly manner." Quoted from Rich, page 51.

7 Thr Writings of George Washington, ed. by J. C. Fitzpatrick. Washington, 1932. Vol. 5, p. 350. Washington to Board
of War. July 29, 1776.


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The Maryland Press, 1777-1790 by Joseph Towne Wheeler.
Volume 438, Page 4   View pdf image (33K)   << PREVIOUS  NEXT >>

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